The last thing most kids want to do after a long day at school is sit through more instruction. When they are struggling with a subject, it can feel like absolute torture to sit through yet another lecture about something they don’t understand.That’s why I think it is important to make an afterschool program that kids will be willing to actively participate in. The extra instruction is only worth it if students are getting something out of it.Some schools have an extra period or other study sessions where groups of students sit with instructors to work on problem areas. While that can be effective with some kids, it strains school resources and doesn’t always help all of the students – if they aren’t understanding the teacher during class, what would spending even more time with the same teacher do?
We have to change up the classroom dynamic in order to engage students who are struggling. I decided to make a better tutoring program, and I’ve learned a few things so far:
The first thing I discovered is that students comprehend things better when they’re one on one rather than a group setting. Curriculum can go at an individual pace and the student can get help immediately on anything they don’t understand.
Another idea was that children learn better in familiar surroundings. So, I decided that my afterschool tutoring would take place in the students’ homes (or other non-school area, such as an aftercare program, if possible).
My best idea, though, was to use other students as the tutors to help those who are struggling. Kids are more likely to ask a peer a question about something they don’t understand rather than go to an adult. Why not give them access to another student who knows the correct answer? Working with a peer tutor helps students feel more at ease, which allows them to work better.
Another great thing about using peer to peer tutoring is the cost. Professionals get paid overtime for tutoring (or at least, they should be). Depending on their level of experience, it can be quite costly to hire one, especially for one to one instruction. The price can be out of reach for some families. But students can’t command those kinds of fees. Others can work for college credit, as a volunteer position that will look outstanding on college applications, or as part of a service requirement for an honor society. Now the cost (or lack thereof) is accessible to many more families.
An additional benefit of using peer tutors is that they can set an example for those they are tutoring. When kids see someone else working hard and earning good grades, they might be inspired to do so themselves. When they talk to someone in college about what they’re studying and how they’re paying tuition, they might decide it is something they are capable of as well.
I think that peer tutoring is something that is worthwhile for just about every grade level, and I hope to bring my ideas to more schools as time goes on.